VRGA has worked with the DEC to give members access to resources and information that they will need to successfully comply with the July 1st Single Use Products and Organic Waste bans. This page includes the text of the acts, webinars, guidance documents, and FAQ's.
Table of Contents
- Ban on Bags, Expanded Polystyrene and Plastic Stirrers (Single Use Products Ban; Act 69)
- Universal Recycling and Ban of Organic Waste (Act 148)
Ban on Bags, Expanded Polystyrene and Plastic Stirrers (Single Use Products Ban; Act 69)
Text of the Law
Beginning July 1, 2020:
- Stores and food establishments can no longer provide single-use carry out plastic bags or expanded polystyrene (think Styrofoam carry-out containers, cups, etc.) (see exemptions below)
- Stores and food establishments will be required to charge not less than 10 cents for a paper bag with a basis weight of more than 30 pounds or less and, generally, paper bags shorter than 10 inches.
- Stores with delis or food establishments cannot provide plastic stirrers
- Stores with delis or food establishments will be banned from providing a plastic straw unless a customer requests one.
If you purchased plastic bags prior to May 15, 2019 you are able to continue to use these bags until July 1, 2021.
All monies collected will remain with the store or food establishment
Certain plastic and/or paper bags are exempt from being banned or charged for:
- Bags provided by a pharmacy, drycleaner, or flower shop to cover flowers
- Bags used to package loose items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, coffee, grains, bakery items, candy, cards, small hardware items, or to wrap frozen foods, meat, or fish
Certain expanded polystyrene food service products are exempt from the ban including:
- Food or beverage that have been packaged outside the state (food being shipped from out-of-state manufacturers that use expanded polystyrene)
- Products used to package raw, uncooked, or butchered meat, fish, poultry, or seafood.
Reusable bags are allowed
There is no ban on reusable bags. Due to COVID-19 some stores chose to ban these bags, but this is not a statewide requirement. Reusable bags have been and will continue to be used at the discretion of the retailer.
Paper Bag Shortage
VRGA has been made aware that there is a paper bag shortage. We have requested:
- A delay in the effective date of Act 69 or
For the legislature to provide the Department of Environmental Conservation with be some leeway to work with retailers that have demonstrated they are working to be compliant but are facing backordered shipments
Guidance Documents and Resources
Universal Recycling and Ban of Organic Waste (Act 148)
Beginning July 1st, 2020:
All food scraps and organic material are banned from the landfill
Organic material is:
- Anything that was once alive and will decompose into soil.
- Organics includes items such as food scraps, leaf and yard debris, and uncoated paper
Food scraps include:
- trimmings and byproducts from prepping food and discarded or unwanted pre- and post-consumer food, including spoiled, stale, moldy, or partially-eaten food
- Meat, bones, fish, seafood, seafood shells, oils and fats
- All parts of fruits and vegetables including seeds, husks, rinds, peels, and pits
- Eggs, egg shells, cheese, milk, and other dairy products
- Grains and beans, in all cooked or uncooked forms
- Prepared foods, dressings, condiments, spices, and sauces
- Tea, coffee grounds and filters, nuts and nut shells
Haulers must offer food scrap collection to nonresidential customers and apartment buildings with four or more residential units unless another hauler will provide that service**
ANR has provided a list of haulers in the state here.
All solid waste facilities and drop-offs that collect trash must separately collect the required recyclables and food scraps (and may charge to do so); they must also collect leaf and yard debris seasonally.
** There is a provision in S.227 that would allow waste haulers to postpone pickup of mandated recyclables, leaf and yard residuals and wood waste, and food residuals separate from solid waste until January 15, 2021 during COVID-19 if they can prove the collection is a threat to the safety of the hauler. The bill has passed the Senate but has yet to pass the House. VRGA will continue to monitor movement of this bill and alert members of any changes.
Your business is responsible for all solid waste materials produced during normal operations. To help customers and staff properly separate these materials, use the standardized, statewide, Universal Recycling symbols (download at VTrecycles.com) to create signs and posters for your facility.